Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Mighty, Big Bird!

A few weeks ago while visiting the Navajo Nation, my host took me to see the dinosaur tracks near Tuba City, Arizona. I had been skeptical from the moment I saw the sign that I was about to bilked out of a few dollars in order to see some carnival attraction made out of plastic.
A dirt road off the main highway took me to a few stands where Navajos were selling jewelry.

There I was greeted by a boy who offered to take me into the desert and who immediately began pointing out the many large bird-like tracks encased in the mud. He told me they were from a dilophosaurus, a plant-eating dinosaur the size of a horse. There were also larger tracks than the ones pictured above, plus skeletons, petrified eggs, scat, and allegedly the remains of a tyranosaurus claw. It then was not hard to imagine the wet fertile green swamp that once was home to these creatures that roamed 200 million years ago during the Jurassic Period.

To me, these imprints were like ancient starlight shining brightly still from a once living source that had burnt out many years before. In that quiet desert setting, the presence of the footprints of these long vanished animals evoked such a genuine, authentic quality, much stronger for me than reconstructed bones in a museum. The dinosaurs were real and they walked here. Naturally, I suddenly scanned the horizon hoping to still catch a glimpse of one that might have been left over. You never know!

To think there are people who don't recognize that these creatures existed at all and cling to biblical interpretations of creation or who believe God put these tracks in the ground like artwork to confuse humans. So much for having advanced beyond the Age of Dinosaurs!


  1. Yup, baffles me too. I guess it's easier to cling to what must be a comforting certainty.

    I believe you showed us the boy, didn't you?

    Were you really that late for dinner because of the sky?!! :-))

  2. I guess there are some people who find the idea of a God who maliciously puts down fake dinosaur tracks to confuse humans comforting. I'm just not one of them.

  3. Hehehe, Ciel.

    I was blown away the first time someone near and dear related the Creation theory after I'd brought up the subject of some fascinating thing I'd just read about paleontology.

    Your post was particularly poetic. Ancient starlight . . . perfect. I had to laugh about looking at the horizon for a leftover. Wouldn't that be something? :)

  4. P.S. and not least. I love the images of the tracks. I remember when we saw tapir and jaguar tracks in Belize. Even though we didn't see the animals, I felt so close to them, my heart was pounding. It sounds like this felt somewhat the same.